We were two at dinner tonight. We ordered very different things; we don't look alike. Yet, the runner brought out our plates and started with, “Um, I have angel hair. Who had the angel hair?”
There's a lot to be said for informal service, but for the love of
Brillat-Savarin, STOP AUCTIONING OFF THE FOOD. It's a minor complaint
compared to, say, having food spilled on you, but it's one of the
hallmarks of indifferent service and a personal pet peeve.
This particular case was at a not-particularly-wonderful Italian place
in Burbank, but it happens all over the place, and it sucks. Servers
need to write down orders in order on the ticket (old-fashioned ticket
pads even had the order of operations for various configurations of
covers right on the top), and runners need to have a dupe with them so
they can deliver the meals without sounding like an estate auctioneer in
Diners are not exempt from the process; once your order is taken, park
your keister in the same seat until the food arrives. It isn't fair to
the servers or runners when the customers play musical chairs.
Restaurateurs of America, the diners notice when plates are delivered
correctly, and tips increase accordingly. Please improve.